At the 2010 World Food Prize ceremony, Jeff Raikes, CEO of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, highlighted the need for sustained support by the global agricultural development community to smallholder farmers.
“We can learn more about small farmers, we can innovate to get ahead of the next challenge, we can form broader, deeper partnerships that allow us to maximize our impact against poverty and hunger,” Raikes said Oct. 14 at the Des Moines, Iowa, event. “What’s required of us is our unfailing commitment to the cause of agricultural development.”
The World Food Prize is the premier international award recognizing those “who have advanced human development by improving the quality, quantity or availability of food in the world.” This year’s World Food Prize laureates are David Beckmann, president of Bread for the World, and Jo Luck, president of Heifer International.
Former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan also called for support to farmers, particularly in Africa. He said smallholder farmers power the continent’s agricultural system.
“We need African governments to stand by and support their farmers through resource allocation and the right policy environments,” Annan said at the same gathering. “But it is equally important that the developed world upholds its commitments to Africa’s development and continues to see agriculture as a priority for support.”
Annan is currently the chairman of the board of directors at the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa, an organization that aims to help lift millions of African smallholder farmers and their families out of poverty and hunger.